Friday, May 27, 2011

Donor X Needs a Nick Name!

Thank you everyone for such great encouragement, excitement and support in our decision on a donor and to move forward down this path. All of the positive words really give me a boost. It just makes it feel even more that this decision to try donor eggs is the right one.

Some of you, in your comments in my last post, asked how we came to a decision and what is the process like, so I thought I'd share a bit about that.

We chose to use an anonymous proven donor. Proven means that either she has been through a cycle before and has done well in that cycle or that she has a child of her how. Anonymous means that she doesn't know who we are and we don't know who she is. We did get to learn a bit about her as I will mention in a bit, but I don't think she knows anything about us. While I will never know the identity of my egg donor, I do have a picture of her when she was a very young girl. I also know some information about her, for example, she has a masters in Marketing but is now a CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant) and is in the process of going back to Nursing School. She has a little daughter of her own (yeah! her eggs can work!) and is 26 years old. She is blond, like me, athletic, like me, and is tall (ish) and thin, like me :-)  This will be her first IVF cycle, so we don't have prior knowledge of how well she usually produces eggs, but the fact that she has a daughter gives me great hope.

After spending a few weeks considering a few different clinics in the area and also a few different shared risk programs (you know, those package deals where you pay for 2x or so the cost of 1 cycle, but get 3 cycles included and a certain percentage of your $$ back if you don't have a take home baby by the end of the 3 cycles)... we decided to do just one cycle and stay with my clinic and RE here. I just adore her and think the convenience of being in my home town will help make this less stressful and easier. Also the cost is very competitive and my clinic's success rates are great too. 85% of the cycles have frozen embryos and 70% of them have a pregnancy. Now, I didn't ask if that was just a PREGNANCY or a TAKE HOME BABY, but its WAY better than the 5% chance I was given of success if I did this with my own eggs.

Just think... after all this is over, I could be pregnant, with some frozens for baby #2!! Granted, this is the ideal state of how I'd like for things to go, and we really don't know how she will respond, so I'll just hope and pray that we get at least one take home baby out of this deal.

So how did I choose her, donor X, you might ask? It really came down to her blond hair and her face. I feel familiarity in her face and even more so now that I chose her. I also decided that because both Tidy and I are mostly blond, I wanted to retain that piece of genetics in our child. I'm would assume that some people who go through this might find one characteristic they like about themselves that they don't want to lose, if possible, and so with me, it was my blond hair and a familiar face. 

It wasn't an easy decision though and it wasn't the first one I looked at. I went back and forth between all different thoughts. Did I want someone with similar intelligences as me? Height, weight? Nose shape, face shape? One donor was a 'rock star' donor and she has gotten 3 other women pregnant at our clinic in the recent past. Clearly she would be a great choice. Another recently went through a cycle that resulted in 30 eggs and 5 frozen. Another was Buddhist and I was really drawn to that (I don't have a label for my own faith, but I really like many of the Buddhist teaching). But last week, as I was mulling over a list of 3 or so and then my donor, donor X, was added to the list. At first I didn't think anything of her because she wasn't proven in an IVF sense, but after a few days of sleeping on it and talking it over with Tidy, she became our choice. And it feels like the right decision. So maybe that was my sign that I was looking for from my baby, that when we were ready to make a decision, this new donor became available. If so, thank you baby, for helping me out.

So, that about sums up some of the thoughts in my head. I'm sure more will come out as we go down this path, but for now, this weekend at least, Tidy and I are going up to my P's cabin to sit by the bonfire, drink wine (beer for Tidy), golf, read, sleep... and take a little breather from our real lives to celebrate our 7 year wedding anniversary. It's this Sunday, the 29th. I can't believe where this world has taken us but I wouldn't trade it, or him, for anything.

By the way, I need a nick-name for my donor. Any suggestions? I want something a bit snappier than donor X. Please leave me a comment and I'll choose my favorite one.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Path Chosen

I want to say something profound here, but I'm not sure what else to say right now, other than to capture our recent decisions and let you know how terribly excited I am by the email I received today.
  • We spent the weekend looking at donor profiles and came to a conclusion
  • We signed a piece of paper on Sunday night stating our intent to use donor X
  • I faxed it into the clinc first thing from work on Monday because I was scared someone else would take her
  • I got an email today from the donor coordinator at our clinic saying this: 
(Tippy),  I am getting ready to leave the office for the day, but I wanted to let you know that I talked with donor X and she said YES! She is available to cycle and doesn't have any significant dates that won't work for her...

And so with that, and a little down payment tomorrow, Tidy and I have graduated from IVF into the Donor Egg IVF world. We hit a major fork in the road this past week and are now heading down a new and very hopeful path.

I'll update you more soon. 

Friday, May 20, 2011

Dear Baby

I thought you were so close.

You were, weren't you? You showed me last cycle that my body can let it happen. But you didn't stay? Why not? I wish you would have stayed. But I know you will come back and stay for good soon, well, I hope, at least.

Baby, I need your help. I don't know how to choose the woman who is going to help you come to us. I want to make the right decision. Can you give me a sign? I feel like I'm choosing behind 3 doors and I only get one choice, and you are standing behind one of them. I really want to pick the right one. But how do I know? I'm so tired of this game and I really just want you to come home to Tidy and me. Its been a long time since we've been trying to find you. Do you know that? Are you ready to come to us?

Please help me. I feel you getting closer and I want you to know that Tidy and I are so ready for you to be a part of our real lives now, not just our dreams. I want to build you a beautiful nursery and I want to feel you grow inside of me. I want to give birth to you and I want to get to know who you are and comfort you and take care of you when you need me, and nurture you and encourage you to be beautiful and strong. I want to love you. I already do, and I don't even know you yet.

But I'm really struggling right now to make a choice. I don't know what is important... Which one am I drawn to? Which one will look most like me? Is that something I should even consider? Does it matter? I just want to choose one that will bring you to me quickly. We're waiting here for you baby, with open arms and hearts.

Whatever you can do to help me make a decision, I'd really appreciate it.

Waiting for you, as patiently as I can,

Love, Mom.

Thursday, May 19, 2011


I know my mom loves me, the best she can. And I know she wants to see me have a child. But, I know she is pretty much the most irrational and stubborn person in the world when she wants to be. Even so, sometimes I don't really realize how much that her beliefs mean to her, and how much more important they are to her than doing something to help her daughter.

I'm in the midst of a huge struggle to build my family. We've spent upwards of $40,000 on trying to have a baby with no success. We are going to spend more to use donor eggs very soon. I've been an emotional mess, anxious, depressed, for about 4 years now and have tried to get my family to understand what this struggle means to me. Most of my family and definitely my friends really do understand, the best they can, without going through this, but my mom clearly does not.

I sent family and friends an email, similar to the post I made yesterday, about having them fill out a form ask their Senators to support a tax credit for people paying for IVF. Here is the response I received from my mom:

"Since I am not ok with IVF, I can not promote this bill, Peace be with you, Mom"

Nice. Thanks for your support, Mom.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


If you haven't already heard, a bill was introduced into the Senate that requires YOUR attention. The bill, if passed, would help those of us paying for infertility treatments with a pretty nice tax credit.

Here is some information about the bill from RESOLVE.
And here is a link to a form that you can fill out quickly to send an email to your US Senators saying you support the bill. PLEASE send this information to your friends and family.

In fact, I'll even make it easy for you. Copy the email below that I sent to my friends and family and send it to yours!!!
Hi Family and Friends!

We would really appreciate your help. A bill has been introduced into the US Senate by a fantastic senator in New York. The bill would financially help those struggling with infertility by giving a tax credit for some of the money spent to cover the expensive costs of IVF.  We ask that you contact your U.S. Senators by filling out the simple form located here:

It should take less than a minute to fill it out. All you need to do is fill in your name and address and check the boxes of your U.S. Senators and it will email it directly them.

If you'd like to read about the bill, you can find information here:

Please don't hesitate to call me if you'd like to learn more. We'd really appreciate each of you filling this out. Thanks so much!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Cease Wallowing, Commence Hoping

Tidy and I met with my RE yesterday. Have I mentioned before how much I adore her? She and her RE husband run the clinic that I go and they themselves experienced infertility. They ended up using international adoption to build their family, but only after a few rounds of unsuccessful IVF. So she KNOWS how this is and really understands the emotional decisions one is faced with.

I had emailed her the day before our meeting to let her know that I would not be going into the meeting with my usual research and plan of attack. Rather, I wanted her to tell us what we should do. I needed someone else to take control of this. I'm very tired of thinking of what-ifs and should-haves.

She laid it out on the table for us. She said, we could try once more with my body if I wanted to. We would do a cycle where we "stim the shit outta me" (my words), grow everything out to day 5 (assuming we had some that made it that far), do CHG genetic testing on them, freeze (since the results of the testing take a while) and then transfer the next month if there were any genetically competent embryos. With this process, we would have less than a 10% chance of success, given that we have already had so many failed cycles. Mostly, we would be spending the usual amount of $$ for an IVF cycle, plus the extra $5-$6K or so to do the CHG testing basically to have a more definitive answer that all of our embryos are genetically crappy and we should move on.

So or options are such:
  • Spend a ton of $$ for something that only has a 10% chance of working
  • Give up on modern medicine and move on to adoption
  • Give up on modern medicine and just hope for a natural miracle for potentially 10 more years before my body goes into menopause
  • Stay with modern medicine a little while longer and move on to donor eggs or donor embryos with a 70% chance of success
(I have my answer, do you?)

She did say something that I thought before we met with her too. She said, "Now, don't take this the wrong way, but I was really happy to see that you had a beta of 25. I shows me that implantation did occur and your body can allow that to happen."

And I agreed with her. I think that this last cycle was the push I needed, the sign I was asking the universe for, to give me confidence that my body can allow an embryo to nuzzle in. Now, we just have to find an embryo that wants to stick around.

So, after a week of wallowing in self pity, red wine, pizza with pepperoni and olives, a little tequila and some ice cream, I feel that I am starting to claw my way out of a deep hole of darkness and emerge into a new world of hope. And that world of hope begins with choosing an egg donor. We've decided to pursue egg donation. And I'm ready!!!

I'm not saying that I'm done grieving the loss of my own genetics, and in fact, I finally made an appointment with a therapist to help me with this issue and others that have been surfacing as my mom is wavering in her mental health. But, I am saying that we are done with my body. We are done putting my body through the egg growing and retrieval phase and I'm good with that. Will I always wonder what my genetic baby will look like? Yes. Will I always hope for a natural miracle when we are not cycling or moving on to other methods? Yes. But at the end of our last stim cycle, in January, on the day of retrieval, we got in the car and played this song and it felt appropriate then and it feels VERY appropriate now:

Our dog-days of putting my body through IVF are over. And I will celebrate that! We did not win the infertility war with my body but I feel a great sense of release and freedom from putting that journey to rest. We gave my body all we had. Years of diet changes, meds, analyzing every little thing I think and put into it... thinking about how it was affecting the quality of my eggs... I release you. I'm done with you. And I look forward to a new sense of hope and a new path. A path that I surely will need help on, from all of you, but one that feels like the right  next step.

Welcome back, hope, it's nice to see you again...

Sunday, May 8, 2011

A Mother's Day Wish

I want to be remembered today, on Mother's Day. I want the people in my life to think of ME today and say, "Hey Tippy, I know today might be a hard day for you. I just wanted to say I'm thinking of you and hopeful that you will be a mom someday soon."

(A little self-centered? Feeling sorry for myself? Yes, a bit.)

And some of my friends did (Thank you :-) )  My SIL and her husband did too. Even a classmate from gradeschool, who I am only facebook friends with and haven't really seen in over 20 years, who is struggling with her own brain tumor fight right now, did.... How selfless!

But my mom, the one person who I really wish would recognize what this means to me, did not. I'm not sure what it is about her personality, her disease, her own emotional health, but she is not very empathetic. I think back to a lot of my childhood with her, and many of my memories are jaded with cravings of more affection, more comfort. I don't think that I always went to her for those things as she was either tending to her younger children who needed her more at that time, or her bipolar disease was more active and I tried to stay away from her. In the recent past, as she has been more stable and healthy, we have developed a more loving and affectionate relationship. She says things like, "Tippy, you're the cutest!" and gives me a hug, and I feel fulfilled for a moment or two.

Despite this more recent affection, there will always be an underlying disapproval from my mom of the way that I am going about finding my child, and that stings. My mom doesn't believe in IVF. She is Catholic and she takes a very literal interpretation of the teachings of her church. I know that Catholic does not mean anti-IVF, and please, for your Catholic readers out there, do not take my writings as anti-Catholic. They are merely a discussion about how my mom interprets her religion....  Anyways,  my mom is also disappointed in me for not practicing the religion that she and my dad brought me up in. I truly believe, that she thinks if I come back to the church, that god will finally give me a baby.

So, here I sit, on Mother's Day 2011, craving a little understanding and care from my mother, but not willing to let her know what I need from her. I don't like to ask, for one, but I also don't like to get in conversations with her about our infertility because they often lead to her disapproval of us doing any more IVF cycles. I can't even imagine what she would say if we told her we were considering Donor Egg IVF...

Because I am stubborn and don't want to ask for help, I will sit here silently and wish for my mom to call me and say, "Tippy, I'm thinking of you today too... "

Friday, May 6, 2011


Things I've put into my body in the last 24 hours to help make me feel better, and THEY have not: Red Wine, Dark Chocolate, Pepperoni and Green Olive Pizza - Hot, Pepperoni and Green Olive Pizza - Cold, Salad with Blue Cheese, Beets and Pecans

Things I've wanted to put into my body in the last 24 hours to help make me feel better, but HAVE not:, Weed, Tequila

Maybe I need to try Ice Cream, next?

Or, Maybe I should just try the second list above.

Kidding... kind of.

It's Friday night. Tidy's out golfing with some friends because its finally sunny out and the sun makes him happy. I'm at home on the couch with a glass of wine and the cold pizza, salad, the computer, the TV and the Pog.

I'm jealous of Tidy sometimes. I wallow for a few days, weeks, after a failed IVF, while he sometimes just moves on and ignores it in a sense. I'm not sure it's quite 'ignoring', but he pushes past it, or away, and tries to go do stuff to get out of the house. I asked him last night why he doesn't cry. Doesn't he want to? Doesn't he ever feel like crying? He said he gets more angry, not sad, and then just wants to say fuck it. But sometimes, while I don't ever want him to be sad, I'd like to see him cry about this. Not once through this have I seen a tear shed. I know he feels terribly, but I'd just like to see him break down and go through the same feeling that I go through.

Why though? Will it make me feel better? What would that accomplish? Maybe then I would know that he truly understands how I feel.

Its funny how two people can grieve together yet so differently.

Making Room

This quote came to me a few days ago from my friend, Mags (oh, wise one). It's from Chod.ron, if anyone is familiar with her teachings... Right now it is one of the things (besides the arms of Tidy and the love of my friends) that is giving me comfort.

"Things falling apart is a kind of testing and also a kind of healing. We think that the point is to pass the test or to overcome the problem, but the truth is that things don’t really get solved. They come together and they fall apart. Then they come together again and fall apart again. It’s just like that. The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy."

Hope this brings some of you who are grieving some peace as well.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Another One Bites the Dust

Beta went down to 9.8
Stopping all meds.
I can't say I'm surprised, but it still stings.

I'll write more later, for now, I just need  a little quite time and a big glass of wine.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Calm Before the Storm

There's always this nice calm before the storm hits on Beta day for me. I usually go to the clinic in the morning at about 7:30 and give blood. I know the results will appear on the web portal I can log into somewhere before 10am. I also know I will receive a phone call from either a nurse (if positive) or the RE (if negative or unclear). But I am usually at work that day and so I choose not to look online OR answer my phone. Its pretty crazy, I know, but I works for me. I just couldn't stand getting any kind of bad or iffy news at work, even with my own office.

So after making through the work day, I drive home and wait to meet Tidy so we can look online together at the result and then listen to the voicemail. But before we actually look online, a calm usually washes over me. I'm not sure why. I think its because I know my life is about to change and I am going to experience an emotional on-slaught either way. And somehow, that simple moment before knowing is very peaceful. Its very alive and real and I wish I had more words to describe it. Does that make any sense?

Well, today was no different. Same deal. Didn't answer the phone, didn't listen to the voice mail, didn't check online, drove home, got on the computer, Tidy got home, and we logged in, just waiting to get it over with so we could move on, open a bottle of wine and pretend its just any other day. Because after all, there's no way in hell this worked.

But then we saw a number that was NOT zero.

My beta is 25.3

Hmmmm. I'm not sure what to make of it. Technically we are pregnant, but I was hoping for something, say, in the range of 200. At 16dpo, 25.3 just seems a bit low.

So we wait more, and we go back in on Wednesday, and we pray that if there's a little guy or gal holding on in there, that they decide to stick around this time, because I know that we would be so very happy to have them stay.... so very very happy.